Smart Spending Tips For The Holidays

While Thanksgiving is a day to rest and be thankful for all we have, the next day millions of shoppers will wake up before dawn and begin furiously preparing for the remainder of the holiday season.  However, Black Friday can be about more than searching for great deals or the best present – it can be an opportunity to teach the entire family about wise holiday spending.  Enjoy the following guest post written by Stuart Ritter.

To help you get started on these important conversations, T. Rowe Price has developed tips for families to share about smart spending for Black Friday, and in turn, smart spending for the whole holiday season.

  • Make your list, but assign each person a dollar value instead of an item.  That way you won’t feel compelled to purchase a specific item on your list if it turns out to be more expensive than expected.  Chances are that by remaining open-minded, you can find a great gift for someone without exceeding your dollar limit.
  • Explain to your kids where the money being spent for gifts is coming from.  Talk to them about how you work the expense of the holidays into your annual spending – a separate savings account to help you save throughout the year, etc.
  • Look into layaway or other programs that allow you to make interest free payments for a big-ticket item.  Doing a little research before you begin shopping will help point you to stores that offer interest free layaway and have the products you’re looking for.
  • Get creative!  Suggest doing a family “Secret Santa” in order to avoid buying numerous gifts.  By assigning each child just one sibling or cousin to buy for, as well as a dollar amount they cannot exceed, it becomes easier for everyone in the family to get involved in the holidays.  Or, suggest the family pitches in for an event or item instead of purchasing gifts, to emphasize the importance of family time.   For example, offer to pay for a plane ticket for a loved one to visit, or a Wii console for the family game night.
  • After the Black Friday buzz has worn off, you can continue money conversations with your kids well into the holiday season.  To help make this easier, T. Rowe Price has created the Family Financial Hub where parents can find tools and resources, including a free activity book with puzzles, games, and activities to teach financial lessons in a fun way.  Kids can also go directly to The Great Piggy Bank Adventure®, an online board game developed in collaboration with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online.
  • This Black Friday, talk with your kids about making lists, pitching in, and all of the other tactics you follow when buying holiday gifts.  By using T. Rowe Price’s tips, you can be better positioned to make it through the 2012 holiday season without going into the red, and while providing your children with valuable money lessons that will last all year long.

T. Rowe Price and Disney Enterprises, Inc., are not affiliated companies.

This guest post was written by Stuart Ritter, CFP®, a T. Rowe Price financial planner and expert in family financial education. He is a father of three young kids.

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